Disclaimer: I do not own Storm Hawks or any of its characters. I do however own my own character and plots.
Um... what's this?
It seems I've gotten myself in a little obsession of another sort, since Fullmetal Alchemist has finished. I'm waiting for all of it to be dubbed, so I've been watching nothing but Storm Hawks recently. It's so kickass for a kid's show! It's awesome; the characters, the world itself, the vehicles, the weapons... I'm really interested in it. And when I'm interested in something, I bounce off ideas, and this is what happens.
I hope you enjoy the first chapter :)
Most people prefer short introductions. Especially in a world where you need to act quickly in order to survive.
My name is Nakoto. I won't exactly tell you what I am yet, since it always gives a bad first impression. I blame the many bad cases of my kind. Get to know me before you judge, okay? That's all I ask for.
But hey, the good thing about first impressions was no one dared attack me normally. Not only was I someone they feared instinctively, but I was someone they didn't recognize. I was new to the skies of Atmos; I only recently got my first flyer, a reserved gift from my late mother. Alas, I'm not very good at flying it, but I try. It helps with my job, too.
I could detail you in more about myself, but that'll come in time, anyway. I tend to speak far more than what's appropriate, like this little rambling... Besides, I'm in a little predicament. Care to join me?
The rain pelted down on the windows of the Condor, but that was nothing unusual. It rained on occasion in this part of Atmos. Stork would proclaim something under his breath during such instances, each involving an 'impending doom'. That, too, was nothing unusual. Finn and Junko were there, playing some form of poker, stacking cards and chips, and Aerrow and Radarr were down in the lower levels, tuning his Skimmer.
Piper was acting as navigator next to Stork, and though there was nothing different about that day, she felt something strange in her stomach. At first she thought it was something she ate, but doubt sucked that hypothesis clean over time.
"I have a strange feeling," she said aloud, and she looked at Stork for any input. "Don't you? Like, something's about to happen?"
"No, but I believe you might have Saharrian Abdominalgitus. There are pills for that next to the fridge. Just... don't breathe on me on your way out."
Piper was tempted to do just that, to see what hilarious reaction would come out of the paranoid Merb. Then again, she decided against it, for the raindrops grew heavier. What seemed like normal rain was beginning to look like a storm. The hull of the Condor groaned a little in response to the strengthening wind. Stork's grip on the steering grew tighter in response.
"That can't be it. I mean, look at it out there. Don't you feel like something might just pop out at us?"
"Like sky sharks?"
"Nah, Junko ain't sneezing," Finn pointed out. Junko waved innocently, and since momentarily distracted, Finn took a quick gander at his friend's hand.
"Well, something else. Maybe..."
Finn jumped up and pointed accusingly. "Don't you dare say Cyclonians. They ALWAYS appear when you mention them!"
"You just mentioned them yourself," Stork sighed. Finn took a moment to consider this, then face-palmed. Piper rolled her eyes and shook her head. She reached for the periscope. As she did so, Finn accepted the chance of Cyclonians appearing, and started holding bets on who would be with them. Circling all around, Piper looked in every possible direction. The water trickled down on the glass, which was irritating at first, but she managed to keep a clear eye. Even so, there was nothing out there. She used both the upper and lower periscopes. Nothing.
Aerrow and Radarr came in when the storm grew denser. It was an all-out thunderstorm now, and more caution was required. "It's really coming down," Aerrow mused.
"I recommend going around," Stork quipped. Aerrow grinned a trademark grin.
"This is nothing compared to the other things we've faced so far. It'll save us time just going through."
"May I remind you how short-cuts promise an untimely demise?"
"Don't worry! What could possibly happen?"
Piper's mouth tilted in a thin, uncertain line.
"Get off my tail, please," I muttered in singsong, plummeting down to the Wastelands. The reddish glow from the Talons' weapons was looking more deadly than usual in the dim light of the rain's mist. The storm was beginning to become difficult to navigate in, and it was starting to get on my nerves. I sucked at flying in normal circumstances, so how could I fare in a thunderstorm?
I spiralled down as far as I dared, then pulled up to level myself. The fiery pits below me were a little inviting; my blood called for intense warmth, you see. I was tempted to simply land and take a break, but the Talons behind me were persistent.
All for a bag full a letters. Normally, it wasn't something worth risking your life over, but being an elite mail-carrier, it was both my job AND my life. I didn't carry your everyday magazines and loveletters. I carried confidential and important things, so that's why I was targeted when given the chance.
But usually, no one could recognize my persona, because I changed my appearance each time I got found out. It was a surprise to how the Talons pinpointed me. Both myself and my ride had a cloaking crystal to ensure we were undetectable. No one but my employer and his assistants knew how I really looked like, and only did I find myself in a difficult position did I take off the crystal. I was much more feared and less-susceptible when I was in my true form, but my employer insisted to cloak myself, for my safety. As to why he wanted my safety seen to, that'll be explained later. I had to have a disguise under normal circumstance.
If you're asking, "Why didn't you take off the crystal, when that was NOT a normal circumstance?", well, this was more unique than abnormal. I hadn't had pursuers keep up for so long, but I was still debating the seriousness of the situation.
I hissed when detonations from the Talon's weapons started to fly by my head. They aimed for the wings of my bike, Cloud Nine, and I had to jerk her this way and that to avoid them. They exceeded my expectations, for I thought them too cowardly to venture into the Wastelands with me, and that left me with fewer options. I wasn't able to actually weave into the flaming catacombs...
I pulled up, ascending, for there was no point to continue down there. The detonations continued to fly, some skimming the wings of my vehicle. Utmost concentration was needed if I wanted to get out of this. The rain showered down on my face as I shot up, growing in altitude. I didn't plan what to do next, but I just wanted to get some distance from them. I glimpsed behind me and grimaced, my throat rumbling. They were keeping up with me, and I was going as fast as Cloud Nine allowed me. I could only assume that the wind was holding me back, teasing the wings back and forth. I couldn't see where I was going in the mist of things.
Because of my blinded vision, I wasn't able to see this leviathan-like mass approach from ten o'clock. I had to swerve to my right to ensure I'd make it past it. Very quickly, I proceeded by it, shooting a glance to analyse what it was. The horn of the mass blared at me, sounding as if it was angrily startled. Lo and behold, luck was on my side. It was a Sky Knight carrier. I never would have guessed to find one in a storm. In my moment of pondering, I didn't pay too much attention to my surroundings, and I was shot.
My shoulder. I shouted out in pain and instinctively reached for it with my heavily-sleeved right hand. The response from Cloud Nine reminded me of my stupidity; she arched backwards, upside-down, and I almost unseated myself. I reached down with blood-caked sleeves and grabbed the handles, managing to hold on. I spun in the air uncontrollably for a few stressful moments, and when I oriented myself, I saw the Talons whip past me. They changed their course to follow me, and I cursed. The pain in my shoulder was subsiding, but it was still a nuisance. Strangely, I found myself more concerned about what I carried on that shoulder...
When I levelled, I reached and hooked my fingers under the strap, then followed it to the bag that hung at my side. Still intact. I felt the load, and smiled. I could still keep my job.
But thinking of the job-part wasn't going to help me survive this attack. They wounded me, and I knew they hoped I would fall into their hands somehow. I was going to need to be extra lucky with this.
"Whoa!" the Storm Hawks exclaimed at once when a Skimmer-like bike shot past in front of the Condor. Stork yelped and pulled on the steering, knocking everyone sideways, and the carrier boomed its horn under his fingers. The driver of the Skimmer looked at them through the windows. In the brief seconds she was there before disappearing, they saw a woman with auburn hair tucked under a cap, and red eyes dulled by goggles. Her vehicle was much more compacted than the Storm Hawks', which implied it was capable of tough situations. After that small analysis, in her place, Talons shot up in a swarm, weapons at the ready. Those weapons were not intended for them however, but for the girl.
"All hands to battle stations! Attack the Talons only!" Aerrow shouted. Junko and Finn jumped and ran for their respective blasters. Aerrow beckoned to Piper to come with him, and she knew he wanted to go out into the storm. As they descended the levels into the Air Skimmer bay, Aerrow asked his friend, "What do you think is happening out there?"
"Talons are definitely the bad guys, there's no question about it... I don't know who that girl is, though. I've never seen her before."
"She can't be a Sky Knight. Why would she have a Skimmer?"
Piper shook her head, having no idea. They reached the door when she said, "Right now, let's just focus on giving her a hand."
Dodging the Talon's firebolt crystals was on the top of my priorities, so I didn't wander far from the Sky Knight carrier. I knew Sky Knights for being good-hearted and thirsty for justice, and so staying by them would tell them that I needed help. Truthfully, I did; my kind was prone to be stubborn, but I managed to be spared of that when I was born. The only thing that I didn't inherit was patience, and I was losing that very quickly.
I didn't want to have to use this... I looked down at my right arm. There was a reason why I had sleeves like these. They were so long that it reached further than my fingertips. The blood from my shoulder actually didn't even stain my actual hands because of this.
I spun in the air so that I faced the Talons, hovering unsteadily. I lifted my right hand up, letting the sleeve fall. To anyone else, it was just a hand. It looked like I had five fingers, when in reality, I only had three. I often made it so that the useless fingers grouped with another, forming three groups, as to not risk the chance of being discovered. Aside from that, it was a typical, five-fingered hand. To me, it was my greatest, and only, weapon. My other hand reached up for my cloaking crystal, to dismiss my disguise.
Before I could confront the Talons — or even touch my crystal—, several of them were shot down by blue light, which I registered as canon-fire. The Talons scattered, some still targeting me. They shot at me, and I had no choice but to take control of Cloud Nine again and try to evade them. I could avoid their shots, but the incoming Cyclonians on their Switchblades advanced upon me, and I had no maneuver to save me this time. I considered diving back down, but unidentified Skimmers entered my peripheral vision. The Talons found them more threatening and faced them.
A girl on a Heliscooter launched herself at the flock of Talons, and they scattered again, but this time into the hands of another Sky Knight, who seemed just a boy. His weapons shone as pale-blue as lightning, and he slashed down the unsuspecting enemies. The girl on the Heliscooter rounded and appeared at my side. Her raven-black hair was slightly getting matted by the rain, but her orange eyes were fierce against her dark skin.
"You're in good hands!" she told me, flashing a friendly smile. "It's a good thing you found us. Talons are no match for the Storm Hawks!"
I was about to say something, but I caught myself in time. I reached up and pressed my throat, smiling. "Storm Hawks, huh?" I said. My voice carried a hint of a lisp. "I've heard a lot about you."
Her smile faltered, puzzled by the manner of my speech. I removed my hand and let her see a small collar around my neck, with an emblem of Atmosia on the section I pressed on. I pressed it to turn it on, so when I spoke, a little red light shone. When I didn't, the light faded. I used this to speak normally, as to not frighten the people I talked to. It modified my voice into a more human tone, eliminating any hissing that could hint my true nature. Of course, only I and the one who provided me this technology knew this, so the girl seemed so intent on understanding it that I had to snap her out of her thoughts. The light glowed faintly as I collected breath.
"I also have mail for you, so if we get out of this..."
She looked back at my face in confusion. "Mail?"
"Mail-Carrier Maia, at your service," I smirked. The look of surprise on her face was priceless. She'd heard of me, I reckoned.
Talon firebolts shooting by reminded us of things at hand. Our vehicles swerved from one another, and I tried to find my bearings. The Storm Hawks on board were still firing at the enemy and nailing many of them. But some were still on my tail, slipping from the other Sky Knight's view. Seeing it best to get going, I shot off to scale the belly of the Storm Hawk carrier.
I pulled up to higher altitude, climbing, climbing—
Firebolts bit into Cloud Nine's wings, and they crippled. The shock of the hit made her lurch, and I lost my grip. I cried out in alarm, and I swiped my hands to get her, but I missed. I got separated from my ride entirely, and I was left to free-fall down in a different crash-course. I had the chance to trigger my parachute, but in a storm like this? I could be blown anywhere. What's more, it would give the Talons an easier target. I could see Cloud Nine's form plummeting with plumes of smoke snaking from her wings. Even with my own life at stake, a sense of remorse enveloped me. I really hoped she wouldn't fall to her death in the pits of the Wastelands.
A Heliscooter came up from below me, reaching me fast. The girl of the Storm Hawks pointed the nose of it toward my falling form so that I was safe from the spinning blade that kept her aloft. I reached out my left hand, and as I streaked past, I caught the mast of the Heliscooter and spun myself onto the rear of her vehicle. The whole thing lurched under my weight —I weighed much more than my disguise let off—, making us tilt backwards. I gritted my teeth tightly and grasped my shoulder; of all the limbs I used to save myself, it was the wounded one. I must of torn my wound more, because it felt like more blood was gathering. The girl had turned around when I was nursing my shoulder, and her eyes widened at a much more visible stain she hadn't seen before.
"Hold on!" She shouted, and she steered her vehicle toward the Storm Hawk carrier.
Because of my weight, her flyer didn't exactly do as she wanted it to, but she managed. She circled under the lower levels toward the latch to the bay. Carefully, the girl directed the Heliscooter into the latch, and we landed heavily. The first thing I relished was the fact I was out of the rain. The next thing I thought of spoiled my relief.
My poor Cloud Nine...
The Talons retreated immediately when the girl was no longer obtainable. They had no chance of taking down the Storm Hawks with the belittling number they had, and since they had no elite Talons with them, the decision to retreat was theirs. Aerrow watched them fly off, and shared a victory smirk with Radarr. He set his course back toward the Condor, where the launching bay was still open for his return. He reverted his Skimmer back into bike form and landed inside. Finn and Junko were already there to shut the hatch after him.
Aerrow dismounted his ride and went straight for Piper and the newcomer. Piper had a frazzled look on her face, seeming to be speaking a mile of minute. The girl, who still had her goggles on her face, looked helplessly at his friend's frenzy. She was a whole lot taller than Piper, he realized. Even taller than himself. When Aerrow arrived at Piper's side, he noticed the growing, dark stain on the girl's shoulder, and an alarmed lump developed in his throat.
"She's hurt!" Piper told him frantically. She reached out to the woman and took her right forearm, the unwounded side. "Come on, I'll take you to first-aid—!"
The woman took a step back, slipping from Piper's grip. She lifted her right hand up, pointing-finger asking for a moment, and he noticed a red light flicker on what appeared to be a thin choker.
"Hold on," she told Piper. The younger one froze. "My job comes first."
"Job?" Aerrow asked. By this time, Junko and Finn joined the party. Stork was still piloting the ship. The woman turned her attention to the bag hanging at her side, and she lifted the flap that encased it. Within were many, many parcels and envelopes, all with different casings and seals. As the people around her gaped, she took out an elaborate envelope, twisting it around to look at the address name. Her eyes lifted up and scrutinized them, then she turned her eyes to Aerrow. The light on her throat faded, but flickered on again.
"Are you Aerrow, the leader of this squadron?"
She gave him a warm smile. She handed him the envelope. "You did very well out there. It helps me sleep at night knowing there are people up to chasing those Cyclonians back into their dens. And thank you. I'm just sorry you have to deal with me now."
"Sorry, to have you here? It's an honour!" Piper expressed. "You really are Maia, aren't you?"
"Quite so. Also, I'd like to thank you for catching me. You must be Piper."
Piper could have giggled out loud, but she held in her excitement as she shook hands with the newcomer. Aerrow still didn't understand how this mail-carrier was a celebrity. Those two things were nothing alike.
"And I'm Finn," the named one said suavely, pushing his way in past Aerrow. The leader rolled his eyes with a smile. Finn always had to introduce himself to any pretty girl he saw, to make a move. The newcomer considered him under her gaze, smiling her own cool smile.
"You're not my type, if that's what that look's for," she said straight out. Finn looked surprised, then sighed in discouragement. She laughed and patted his shoulder in a friendly manner. "What I mean to say is, I'm not your type. I'm very hard to pair up with, so don't take it personally. And the Wallop behind you is Stork, yes?"
"No, this big guy here is Junko," Aerrow said. Junko wasn't at all affected by being called the wrong name, and he waved at her welcomely. Aerrow continued, "Stork is our carrier pilot. He's flying us out of this storm."
A look of distraught captured Maia's visage for a brief second, but she shook her head to banish it. She looked into her bag and pulled another parcel out. "This is for Stork, then," she said. "I took it with me because I was going to find you anyway, to give you that envelope. I didn't think it now, of all times, but here we are."
Aerrow finally looked at what he was given, but despite the curiosity, he looked up at Maia. "Thank you, but who exactly are you?"
"Aerrow, she's Maia," Piper reprimanded him as if he was embarrassing her. "She's practically the most important messenger of Atmos! We're lucky to actually see her; there are no pictures of her anywhere!"
"I don't like how my pictures come out," Maia put in, smiling foolishly. "And you really flatter me."
"Why do you need to be a messenger? We have carrier birds to deal with mail."
"They are very easy to catch, I'm afraid. Officials don't trust the reliability of the birds with important messages, concerning political affairs and plans. So they use me. I take orders from the Chancellor on Terra Atmosia. Which reminds me; I would appreciate using your radio to contact him about my... current position."
"But why—" Piper's stern look stopped Aerrow short. He cleared his throat. "We'll let you. I just have a few more questions, that's all—"
"Aerrow, didn't you notice the pool of blood on her shoulder? She needs medical attention!"
Maia's expression didn't look like she needed it. The wound looked foreboding, but the woman didn't look anxious about it. She looked down at it when Piper mentioned it, as if she just noticed it for the first time. She touched it with her right hand, her fingers peaking out from her longer-than-needed sleeves. She laughed softly to herself.
"You can't blame him for interrogating me. I'll answer your questions at your own leisure. Anyway, I guess you're right. This needs to be looked to."
Piper nodded, and she turned to lead the way. Maia looked at the ones remaining, and the strange thing about it was that she was looking down at them by a little. She rivaled Junko's height, maybe straying by just a centimeter. Aerrow's eyes moved to her feet, and he noticed that she was wearing high-heeled boots that could pass as the lowest grade of elevator boots. As to why she wore them, he had no idea; it made her look unnaturally tall.
"It was nice meeting all of you," she said. She passed the package meant for Stork in Finn's hands. "I'll try and get things resolved. I don't want to inconvenience you."
"Not at all," Aerrow said. "You just... take it easy."
Maia smiled crookedly and followed Piper out the door.
"She has a cute lisp, don't you think?" Finn said, smiling goofily. Aerrow forced a smile, still edgy about the newcomer. Junko and Finn went off, most likely going back to the bridge. Radarr was strangely quiet and tense during that exchange, and only now relaxed.
"What do you think, Radarr?" he asked his companion. "Strange, isn't she?"
The small animal didn't look like he knew how to respond. Aerrow stared at him for a few more moments, then focussed on the envelope in his hand. He decided to open it and see what it finally was.
End of Chapter
I hope you people liked it. I know; starting another story when I already have one going is NEVER a good idea, but I can't get SH out of my head! Especially Repton... aw man, why does a lizard have to be that attractive? XD
Anyway, I'm not expecting too much reviews on this one, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.